Thursday, October 27, 2011

Back in the game

I kept a folded-up piece of paper in a hidden compartment of my makeup bag while I was working with my trainer this year. She thought it would be a good incentive for me to write down my weight-loss goals, tied to completion dates, with rewards for reaching each milestone.

So I had outlined exactly where I wanted to be by the first of each month, and my prizes were things like a new mp3 player for the gym and a new pair of jeans because, as I wrote, “my old ones won’t fit anymore by the time July 1 rolls around!”

I found that list the other day. (I had forgotten all about it because I had pretty much taken the entire summer off from dieting and exercise.) I looked all the way to the bottom, at where I was supposed to be by now, the end of October.

“Goal weight! Now, the hard part: Maintenance,” I had written in mid-January, all bright-eyed and determined.

I couldn’t help but have a brief self-pity moment when I read that. Because, as many of you know, I am not at my goal weight.

But, as I said, the moment was brief. At the start of October, I had one of those bright-eyed and determined moments again. At the time, I had gained back 12 pounds of the 50 I had lost, and I decided it was time to do something about it.

So all this month, that’s what I did. I got my food in order. I got my exercise in order. I got my attitude in order. And I took off the 12 I had gained plus five more.

In total, I’m down 55 with two months to go before the end of the year.

On the Health & Fitness page on Jan. 2, 2012, I plan to run an update on my progress, as well as my “before and after” pictures. I plan to include Monty Meyer in that story as well. The story we ran on his incredible weight loss on the cover of the January 2011 Mankato Magazine was the inspiration for my “fight to be fit,” so it seems fitting to update his story right along with mine.

With that deadline looming, I truly feel like I have something to prove to all of you, which has been the real blessing about being so public about such a private issue: accountability. Another huge blessing has been the reader response. Thank you all for your supportive letters and emails, especially those who have told me that my column inspired you to lose weight. I LOVE that.

Thanks also to those who haven’t been so nice. A woman named “Ang,” short for Angela, wrote to the editor about how she’s had enough of “the fat lady with the big head to match.” I laughed when I told my coworkers about this, and several of them said something like, “Oh, I’m sorry, that’s really mean.” But it doesn’t embarrass me to get the occasional email like that. Seems to me the people who are capable of being so unkind are the ones who have something to be ashamed of. (I hate to call her out publicly, folks, but surely when someone sends an email to a newspaper they don’t expect it to be private.)

And, anyway, when Ang writes that reading my column makes her “lose her appetite,” it just makes me want to keep doing it. The best way to get me to excel at something is to tell me I can’t or shouldn’t do it.

So thanks, Ang. I hope you’re reading this after breakfast. I’d hate to spoil the most important meal of the day for you.

And just so you know, my head is a perfectly average size. It’s my tush that needs the work.

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